Saturday, August 1, 2009
and awaaayyy we gooooo, awaaayyy wee goooo
Hello wonderful friends.
Blessed with the beauty and peace of hiking, camping, and swimming, I am smacked in the face when I return to civilization to deal with computers that don’t stay powered without being plugged in and bankcard issues. You don’t know how much I wish I could run back to the woods. Not this time. From my huddled spot by the wall outlet, I will attempt to document the beauty of the past four days. If I can’t cover it in words, I will try pictures.
I departed Minneapolis, Minnesota on Tuesday morning, pausing at the Honda dealership to get an oil change. While waiting for them to clean out the rocks from the tires, which had been making a peculiar clicking sound, I was scouring the map for my next destination. I spotted a pretty looking green patch on the northern part of Wisconsin titled “Apostle Islands National Lake Shore.” Being a National Park junkie (and a NP map collector), you know you can count me in! I headed that way, taking my time to talk up visitor center employees and other locals throughout my journey. I also hit up the St. Croix national river/scenic high way, which was a bonus, and also came with a map!
My goal was to get dropped off on an island for a few days with just my backpack and guitar. It didn’t quite work out that way, the ferries only run so often, and I only wanted to stay for a few days, so I rocked a kayak day tour, enjoyed a lakeside walk in campsite, and made myself at home. I made a few friends on the tour, and shared s’mores with them one night. From there I headed to Pictured Rock National Lake Shore in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This spot has been on the map for weeks, and boy did it stand up to its expectations. I started the tour off with a 3 hour boat tour (not as sexy as Gilligan’s island unfortunately, but geologically stunning for sure)! The rock cliffs are spectacular and their colors are so unique! After the Glacier retreating, certain land masses shot out of the ground ( I love it when geological talk sounds quick) to make these drastic cliffs which are decorated by different minerals (and colors) being forced out of the rock via underground water channels, it’s pretty breath taking. I was most excited about this park because of its back packing trails! The lake provides a clean water source (filter needed), stunning beaches, and chilly, but beautiful, swimming.
I signed up for a backcountry site about 3 miles out from a parking lot. Not too much distance, but I haven’t been backpacking in years, and wasn’t sure what I could handle. The hike was relatively flat, beautiful, woodsy, but man am I out of back packing shape. It was difficult to carry all my stuff, plus without filter, I carried two days of water, and I drink a lot of water!
It was amazing to be out there, it took me back to the backpacking days I miss so much! There is something so magical inside of my heart when I walk through the trails and am so far from cars, banks, and telephones. It’s challenging, rewarding, and peaceful! There were a few others out there, going in different directions, sharing a campfire, and I was lucky enough to borrow a water filter for a few minutes. I am so grateful for this moment because it took me down to the beach, and it was one of the most beautiful moments I have ever shared in nature. The water was calmly bouncing against the beach, the sun was still lighting the sky from where it has just set, and the colors of evening were spectacular. I had heard that lake superior was stunning, but not until this moment had I really seen its beauty.
The am was spent hiding out in the tent, waiting for the morning showers to pass, a short swim in the chilly waters, and book and journal time!
On my hike back to the car I talked to a few folks that seemed surprised that I was doing this adventure solo. It’s funny how apparent it is that I am by myself when I am walking through the woods with everything on my back. Less so when I run into a gas station to buy a coffee. I suppose my partner in crime could easily be waiting in the car. I have been thinking a lot about the solitude as of late. Finding quite a bit of comfort in it really. Now that I have gotten used to the fears of sleeping alone, the responsibility of solo decision making, and the feelings of wanting a familiar face to understand who I am and where I am coming from. I have come to find a lot of joy in my current way of life. I am able to do whatever I want. From sandy feet in the tent, lots of raw garlic in my meals, and ability to get up and go, or stick around for a while, I rarely get too cranky with my travel partner;)
I have traveled alone in the past. Each time gets easier and easier, but always, always, always challenging! I never thought I would be a solo traveler. I know I won’t always be. I look forward to sharing these experiences with a companion(s). And I get to, from time to time, fellow travelers, or locals, welcome me into their lives and we are able to share stories, walks, or pints of ice cream along the way. So when people ask me if I am alone, I answer first with yes, second with, I am never alone, and third with yes, and I eat as much garlic as I choose!
When it comes down to it, as far as my reality reaches at such a young age, it appears that life is all about the relationships we hold. And relationships are time spent with something, quality and quantity combined. And in order to have the beautiful relationships I have been blessed with in my life, I must spend this time with my self. Paying close attention to how I choose to live, how I treat myself, and how I experience this world. I think, hope, intend for it to, make me a better partner, friend, and community member.
In love, in awe, in smiles,